Tuesday, 17 May 2011
And a good time was had by all...
So, the 10k race on Sunday was an absolute triumph. Not only did I beat last year's time. (Hooray!) But I actually enjoyed it.
That morning, things did not look good. I'd woken up terrified and even a calming bath hadn't helped. I lay my p.e. kit out on the bed and with trembling hands pinned my race number to my t-shirt. I made the decision not to wear my club vest as I felt this would give the wrong impression. Instead, I inadvertently wore the colours of another club, so enjoyed much misguided cheering from the local Harrow supporters (go Metros!)
Due to transport issues, I arrived at the clubhouse late (too late to buy raffle tickets. Damn!) I also forgot my stopwatch. My plans to stick to a 9 minute mile and aim for a negative split went flying out of the window.
Which was probably just as well.
I'd been so keen to beat my time from last year that I'd worked myself up into a frenzy. I thought I was going to be sick on the start line. And so I paused and had a quiet word with myself.
Why do something that makes you feel so awful? Balls to character-building.
I decided that enjoying the race was more important than time. If it hurt, I would run slower. If it felt good, I would speed up. I anticipated more of the former than the latter.
With that, the starting pistol went. Soon, I was surrounded by faster runners. They rushed past and I can honestly say that I had absolutely no urge to keep up. In the morning sunshine, I found my place and pootled happily at the back of the pack. It was nice to run in a new location, with a mix of gentle hills, main roads and park (though even at a slow-speed, running on grass is a killer). There were loads of marshals, stopping traffic, so I made sure I thanked all of them for their support on the way. I also had a race with a toddler. I won.
At the end of the first 5k, I felt fine so considered speeding up. I spent another 4k thinking about it, then decided to really give it my all. With about 100 metres to go.
I did feel shattered. And I did have to lie on the floor for a bit, cooling my face in the grass. (I hope that wet patch was dew. I didn't see any dogs.) But I was soon up and about and ready for a complimentary coffee back at the clubhouse. What I didn't have a clue about was my time. I felt okay, so assumed it wasn't the fastest in history.
So imagine my delight, when I won! Okay, imagine my delight when I discovered my time was 54.39. A whole 1 minute and 41 seconds quicker than last year. And I was feeling good. On an 8.48 minute mile. A miracle.
It's one month and counting till the half. Things are looking up.
(Pic: The best medal I've ever won. The nicest coffee I've ever drunk. My foot.)